Kubuś (Polish for "Little Jacob") was a Polish World War II armoured car and armoured personnel carrier (APC), made by the Home Army during the Warsaw Uprising. A single copy was built on the chassis of a Chevrolet truck and took part in the fights. Currently the "original" Kubuś is restored after the war and held in the Polish Army Museum. There is also a full-scale replica built for the Warsaw Uprising Museum. The latter is in perfect condition and frequently takes part in various open-air fests and reenactment shows.
The construction of the original Kubuś took only 13 days from the decision to handing over to fighting units. Work started on 8 August 1944 in a car repair shop belonging to Stanisław Kwiatkowski in Warsaw's borough of Powiśle, at the corner of Tamka and Topiel Streets. The main engineer was Walerian Bielecki (nom-de-guerre Jan), who was also the designer of the car. However, as a matter of fact the car had no design prepared on paper and instead all construction was improvised in situ. The name was taken in an honour of wife of one of constructors (pseudonym Globus) - she had a pseudonym Kubuś (Polish for "Little Jacob", but also the Polish name for Winnie the Pooh) and was killed in early August.
Kubuś was based on the chassis of a civilian Chevrolet 157 truck, license-built in pre-war Poland by the Lilpop, Rau i Loewenstein company. The chassis was fitted with steel plates for protection of the crew. The plates were bolted to a steel frame and then welded together. The armoured car could carry between 8 and 12 soldiers and was armed with a Soviet-built DP machine gun, underground-built K pattern flamethrower and hand grenades, in addition to personal armament of the soldiers.
The car entered service immediately upon completion on August 22, 1944, and attached to the "Wydra" motorised unit. The following day, together with a captured Sd.Kfz.251/3 Ausf.D APC it took part in a (failed) assault at the main campus of the Warsaw University turned by the Germans into a military garrison. The assault was repeated on September 2, but with no success. Kubuś received minor damage and was successfully withdrawn from combat to Polish-held areas. However, it was not repaired and instead on September 6 it was abandoned at Okólnik Street.
The damaged Kubuś survived the war and in 1945 was towed to the Polish Army Museum as one of the first exhibits after it was looted by the Germans. It was restored and is currently on exhibition there. A full-scale operational replica was created in 2004 by Juliusz Siudziński and is, as of 2009, on exhibition at the Warsaw Uprising Museum.
Notes and references
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